Cheap 52mm filters

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:26 am
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
Someone on eBay UK is selling sets of 52mm UV filter, polarizer, and lens cap - for 99p! I always need 52mm skylights/UVs and caps for the lenses I sell so I just bought a few which arrived today, and they appear to be exactly as described. Probably not up to the highest quality standards, but I'll be honest, I can't tell the difference at all, and they'll certainly keep the dust out. Annoyingly they don't have any other size at anything like this price.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253149121163

Probably not worth it outside the UK
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
This was a little disappointing, possibly because it was a very dull day, also because I realise now that I'd left the camera set on 400 ASA, but I didn't feel that the results were much better than my big zoom, which I wouldn't have expected from a prime lens. I ditched about a third of the pictures, what I'm left with is a lot of the same subjects as last time, plus more of the Albert Memorial and a bit more on that black sculpture of the horse, including a plaque with info on the sculptor etc.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/sets/72157686865515384

My feeling now is that I'll keep the big zoom, really don't use the wider end of the 18-55 enough to justify keeping it, and will probably replace the 18-55 and the 35mm with a good 50mm lens, it's more the sort of focal length I like to work with, and my experiments with the Yonguo lens on the Canon showed that I was getting some reasonable results. Needless to say the Nikon-fit 50mm lenses are hugely more expensive than the Canon-fit Yonguo. There is no urgency about any of this, of course, so the master plan is to get a good 50mm first (or possibly a 60mm Micro-Nikkor if one comes my way) and worry about the rest of it later.

Random Links, Early in the Morning

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:55 am
dewline: (Default)
[personal profile] dewline
On fictional user interface design for film and TV:

http://www.idnworld.com/imprints/FUI-DesignFilmGames

On Brexit's campaign against anti-corruption efforts (and yes, I wrote that as intended):

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/opinion/brexit-britain-corruption.html

Discovery: In Case You Wondered

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:42 pm
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[personal profile] dewline
Since the series is going to air on Space Channel here in Canada - thank the Great Bird, the Prophets, the Grand Material Continuum, Surak and Kahless for that! - I do plan to watch the series. I do not like this "streaming-subscription" business model.

Noting the first four episode titles per trekmovie.com:
  • The Vulcan Hello
  • Battle at the Binary Stars
  • Context is for Kings
  • The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry


Some attention-getters as episode titles go, yes?
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
This is a follow-up to last years offer of material for the "old-school" RPG Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which I discussed here: https://ffutures.livejournal.com/1213281.html

As with the previous offer, the set-up is a world where adventuring is horrible and dangerous, and the most likely thing to happen is your disgusting and painful death or accidental triggering of an apocalypse or something. It's definitely not a fun setting, and I have to be honest and admit I still haven't tried it. This seems to be all-new material, adventures and settings, but does contain the game rules etc. for those who missed the previous offer.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Lamentations2

"This is our second offer (a follow-up to the July 2016 Bundle of Lamentations, our top-grossing offer last year) featuring Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, a sinister and horrific twist on traditional fantasy gaming. Though the rules are a tight retro-clone of B/X D&D, LotFP's attitude comes out of heavy metal and Dario Argento horror films. You could call it "horror fantasy," but this isn't about werewolves or serial killers. LotFP is largely about forces from beyond our awareness causing great distress. Some might describe it as "sick." One review of Towers Two (in this offer's Bonus Collection) struck the right note: "This adventure has torn open a slime-laden murder-blunt-trauma hole in reality's sky and poured down the awesome."

Designer James Raggi explains: "The inspiration for LotFP is the basic belief that the life of an adventurer is a hellish thing nobody sane would want -- full of danger and violence, with no real home, no real family, no certainty, ever. Think of the classic RPG adventure form: You're going into some dark hole with a sinister history, fully expecting to encounter deathtraps and supernatural monsters and all sorts of things that want to kill you and probably eat you, and you're doing it for some money. Or 'glory.' In real life we get pissed and dream of quitting our jobs when our bosses want us to sit at a desk for an extra hour, and our 'glorious heroes' are the people that are victims of the most and worst gossip, and bloody hell this is all terrible. So let's drop the pretense of being noble heroes doing things for noble reasons and just spotlight the fact that 'adventures' are terrible, life-ruining traumatic experiences. And my love of heavy metal and horror movies provides wonderful inspiration for making them so. That's LotFP."

Lamentations has become notorious in the Old School Revival community for this unforgiving ethos. Many fantasy RPGs establish dungeons that are supposedly dangerous ("no one has ever returned"), and then the player characters waltz in and kill everything. But LotFP dungeons are seriously dangerous -- as in, "You're Definitely Going To Die Down Here, No Really." Touch something the wrong way and you're hosed, or sometimes you trigger an apocalypse.

In a metagame sense these doomed journeys teach players caution. They're "nega-dungeons"; they exist for the purpose of you not going there, and if you do, you've already lost. A place like this can help your campaign. As Evan Jeshka wrote in a November 2014 entry on the Bundle of Holding blog, "Welcome to Death Frost Doom, Now Turn Around and Go Away": "It adds grit and verisimilitude, and reminds you you're in a world that exists for its own purposes, not to feed you experience and treasure."

Lamentations made a big showing at this year's ENnie Awards, and this new offer presents the books that took Gold and Silver honors: Blood in the Chocolate, Broodmother Skyfortress, and Veins in the Earth. Along with several older titles not previously in Bundle offers, this collection also brings back three characteristic Lamentations titles from our past Old School Revival offers -- Death Frost Doom, The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time, and Qelong -- as well as the complete rulebook presented in the first Lamentations offer.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity designated by Lamentations publisher James Raggi, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$117.50. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all eight titles in our Weird Starter Collection (retail value $62.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Blood in the Chocolate (retail price $8): A magically horrific candy factory and its enigmatic, bloodthirsty proprietor. 2017 ENnie Gold Award for Best Adventure.
  • Carcosa (retail $15): A weird-fantasy setting of dark and loathsome sorcery.
  • Isle of the Unknown and Dungeon of the Unknown (retail $11): An island hexcrawl that fits easily in any campaign, and a dungeon that explores some of its many mysteries.
  • The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time (retail $8): A reality-warping (and character-warping) entity drives an experience of cosmic horror. [Previously presented in the November 2013 Old School Revival offer.]
  • Death Frost Doom Second Edition (retail $7.50): The anniversary edition, fully revised with all-new artwork, of the controversial adventure that launched Lamentations of the Flame Princess. [Previously in the November 2014 Old School Revival +2.]
  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rules & Magic Full Version (retail price $5): The complete core rulebook by James Raggi of weird-cosmic-metal fantasy. Includes the introductory adventure Tower of the Stargazer (retail $6). [Also in the original July 2016 Bundle of Lamentations.]

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Appalling Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $55:

  • Veins of the Earth (retail $20): The massive treatise on the underworld environment by Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess (Fire on the Velvet Horizon, Deep Carbon Observatory). 2017 ENnie Silver Awards, Best Writing and Best Monster.
  • Broodmother Skyfortress (retail $10): The super-awesome adventure/campaign design kit by Jeff Rients, Arch-Mage of Old School.
  • Towers Two (retail $10): An unspeakably raunchy sandbox campaign co-designed by heavy metal musician Dave Brockie, AKA Oderus Urungus of Gwar. Truly not-safe-for-work (and maybe -life).
  • No Salvation for Witches (retail $10): A gleefully gory adventure in 1620 England by Rafael Chandler (Pandemonio). Did we mention all these books are adults-only?
  • Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess (retail $5): A village of gumdrops and candy canes run by fairies and teddy bears. Absolutely not for children.
At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early"

Additionally "One random purchaser of this entire offer (Starter and Bonus Collections) will receive a full set of all physical LotFP books currently available from the LotFP webstore -- a value of over US$400! Lamentations publisher James Raggi will notify the winner within 48 hours of this offer's end; the lucky customer will have 48 hours to confirm a shipping address to receive this great big pile of books.

I'll be honest, I'm not particularly interested - I prefer a less visceral approach to gaming, and Call of Cthulhu pretty much monstered me out. But if you still go in for this sort of thing it looks like a reasonable offer, and the price seems OK.

Closing Out the Weekend

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:53 pm
dewline: (Default)
[personal profile] dewline
Still. Not. Normal.
dewline: (Default)
[personal profile] dewline
I rewatched Atomic Blonde on Friday night. It made a bit more sense on the second viewing, which was good. It's not only a whodunnit, but a how- and why- as well as being a period spy/action drama. Not sure that we need a sequel to it, but that's an argument we can have in the comments.

Weird firefox problem

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:45 am
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
Anyone got any idea why Firefox has suddenly stopped allowing me to open images (as opposed to web pages containing them) in the browser? e.g., if I right click on an image and want to open it it will only do that in my paint program, which is a pain.

Any suggestions?

"Drink Cup of Tea"

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:48 am
muninnhuginn: (Default)
[personal profile] muninnhuginn
Now, this --
Big pic... )-- is the game controller for me. Although, maybe, the tea button should be a larger one.

What a surprise...

Sep. 16th, 2017 07:29 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
Apparently Denver's Better Business Bureau has just dropped Photobucket's rating to F, the lowest they do, citing fifteen complaints since they changed their terms and no response from the company.

https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2017/09/13/photobucket.html?ana=twt

Who Fears Death Shock Horror

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:18 pm
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[personal profile] ffutures
According to George R R Martin's blog the TV series of Who Fears Death will have a... gasp... black director. That's got to be a first for a fantasy novel by a black author, I think

https://grrm.livejournal.com/548883.html

Rainy Evening

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:35 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
Yesterday evening I was testing a very simple Photax 300mm manual lens on my Eos 300D and it started raining as I took the last picture. I was rather pleased with the result:

big picture )

Tested the 18-55 lens

Sep. 13th, 2017 01:25 am
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
A bit disappointing - if anything not as good as the Tamron 28-300, it felt a little unsharp. I've posted the best photos here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/sets/72157685127937342

Next time the 35mm f2 - that ought to be interesting, since I've made very little use of it.
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
These are two offers of material for GURPS Traveller, one of the better implementations of the huge Traveller setting, the first SF RPG; one is a repeat of the core material, the other an all-new military bundle.

GURPS Traveller Essentials

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/GURPSTrav1-2017

"Revived from July 2016, this is one of two offers, running in parallel, that present many titles from the licensed GURPS Traveller line originally published by Steve Jackson Games based on the classic SFRPG Traveller. This revival, GURPS Traveller Essentials, presents the core GURPS Traveller rulebook and all the major supplements you need for a complete campaign in this alternate Third Imperium. If you're new to Traveller, start here.

In 1998 Traveller designer Marc Miller licensed the Traveller setting to SJG for use with its Generic Universal RolePlaying System. GURPS Traveller (1998-2015) uses the Third Edition GURPS system. The game takes place in Year 1120 of an alternate Third Imperium timeline (20 years after Classic Traveller) in which no Rebellion occurred (as in MegaTraveller) and the Virus was never released (as in Traveller: The New Era). The late Loren Wiseman, who worked with Game Designers' Workshop on the design and development of the original Traveller, was the GURPS Traveller line manager and editor of the online magazine Journal of the Travellers Aid Society. SJG produced over 30 supplements for the line, covering all the major alien races, many minor races, interstellar trade, expanded world generation, the military forces of the Third Imperium, and starships.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to these two Traveller offers' designated charity, Heifer International.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$105. Customers who pay just US$11.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • GURPS Traveller 2E (retail price $12): The complete 179-page Second Edition corebook (2002). Includes the free GURPS LITE rules and the free introductory adventure "Flare Star."
  • Starships (retail $8): Three dozen complete spacecraft designs plus rules for creating your own.
  • First In (retail $8): The Imperium Interstellar Scout Service and a complete system for building the worlds its Scouts discover.
  • Deck Plan 5: Sulieman-Class Scout/Courier (retail $10): Are you a scout in a First In campaign? This is your ship.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $67:

  • Behind the Claw (retail $8): The GURPS guide to the canonical Traveller space sector, the Spinward Marches -- one of the most detailed treatments of the Marches in the setting's history.
  • Humaniti (retail $10): The societies and cultures of 16 different human races -- Darrians, Azhanti, Syleans, Kargol, and many more.
  • Starports (retail $8): The anchors of the Imperium. Written by novelist John M. Ford.
  • Modular Cutter (retail $8): A sourcebook for the workhorse Ship of a Thousand Uses, a favorite of Traveller groups for decades.
  • Deck Plan 2: Modular Cutter and Deck Plan 1: Beowulf-Class Trader (retail $10 each): Ship layouts printed with both hexes (for GURPS) and squares (Classic Traveller).
  • Best of JTAS, Volume 1 (retail $13): Collecting the top articles from SJG's version of the venerable Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society magazine.

At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased this offer -- including the customers for the original July 2016 run -- automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early -- even waaay early."

GURPS Traveller Wars

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/GURPSTravWars

"This all-new collection... ...presents the military-oriented supplements like Star Mercs and Ground Forces.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Heifer International.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$83. Customers who pay just US$11.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the Star Mercs and Ground Forces campaign sourcebooks, the Rim of Fire location guide to the wartorn Solomani Rim space sector, and complete deck plans for the Assault Cutter, the starship that drops you into battle.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with three more titles worth an additional $45:

  • Interstellar Wars (retail $25): High adventure in the Traveller universe's earliest history, when the Terran Confederation fought the First Imperium. (This is the only Traveller book for GURPS Fourth Edition, rather than for 3E; we include the free GURPS Lite quick-start rules for 4E.)
  • Sword Worlds (retail $10): One of the most distinctive civilizations in the Third Imperium -- not that they want to stay there.
  • Deck Plan 6: Dragon System Defense Boat (retail $10): Every star system's first line of defense.
At least one more title will be added after launch, as above

GURPS Traveller resources



I think I already have all the basic material, but I'll definitely be downloading the military stuff, even if I never get around to using it - Traveller is an all-time classic, and I'm interested in seeing how this implementation handles things. I think that both offers are pretty good value - but as always, especially when I'm enthusiastic about one of these offers, I need to point out that I get them free if I want them - if you don't you may feel differently - and that this is the oldest SF setting around, there are others that may appeal more to a modern audience.

Talking of Quorn...

Sep. 11th, 2017 11:59 am
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[personal profile] ffutures
One of the mystery additions to the Werewolf offer I mentioned has now been revealed. It's the Werewolf 20A Cookbook, which is aimed at gaming groups that like to eat together:

Every werewolf tribe has its traditions, legends, and customs. From the lordly Silver Fangs to the debased Black Spiral Dancers, the isolated Siberakh to the long-dead White Howlers, each tribe has a characteristic approach to food. And they all -- even the Red Talons -- can enjoy a well cooked meal.

The Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition Cookbook, a first for the World of Darkness, provides extra background details on each tribe of Garou and a tasty recipe representative of the tribe. Recipes range from entrees to desserts to snacks to eat on the run. Many recipes include variants for Kinfolk who hold to vegetarian or vegan diets or are gluten-intolerant.


My underlining - the idea of vegetarian and/or vegan werewolves just seems a little odd somehow. And don't werewolves like to eat meat raw? Yes, I know they're talking about the players, not the characters, but even so...

Hail Hydra?

Sep. 11th, 2017 11:29 am
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[personal profile] ffutures
Should I be worried that the new energy company I'm switching to is called Octopus Energy?

They seem to be OK, and I'll be saving a few pounds a month with no penalty if I switch to someone else, but I can't help wondering if I've just signed up with Hydra or Doc Oc...

If anyone else in the UK is interested, I get £15 for everyone who signs up via this link, so does the person signing:
https://share.octopus.energy/cute-owl-37

RIP Len Wein 1948-2017

Sep. 10th, 2017 05:24 pm
dewline: (Grief)
[personal profile] dewline
I've just seen word on Facebook from Elliot S! Maggin and Paul Kupperberg. We've lost Len Wein today.

Details as we're able to get them...

Today's culinary experiment...

Sep. 10th, 2017 06:25 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
 ...was Quorn fake chicken satay. Worked quite well - stir fried the fake chicken with garlic, pepper, and a bit of tabasco, then added some stir fry vegetable mix with peppers and got it cooked. Mixed in the satay sauce (from a sachet - I admit it, I'm lazy, and it was half price this week), let it simmer for a minute of two, then tried a bit. It seemed to lack something, so on a hunch I added a little lime juice, which really seemed to improve it. Cooked it some more, had it with rice and a little salad, and really enjoyed it. I shall try this one again.

My eyes still have me...

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:48 am
dewline: (compliment)
[personal profile] dewline
Had an exam at the Eye Institute on Friday. The specialist handling my file pronounced my situation "rock stable" and recommended that we do this again in about six months. I am more than happy to go along with this suggestion.

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